As some of you know, I enjoy funny dunny signs. And as today is United Nations World Toilet Day I thought I’d share a few more. I recently came across these in Tropical North Queensland, Australia. I’m not sure if it is a weather-related thing – as in it’s so hot up there you drink a lot and are always desperate to go to the toilet, but several toilet signs involved crossed legs.
I loved these signs below, found on the colourful mosaic-tiled public toilets in Rex Smeal Park, Port Douglas, though I was in too much of a rush to admire the design until I’d used them, having arrived feeling just like the depicted lady! After walking part of Four Mile Beach we thought we’d just walk to the top of the hill for the view, but kept going …and going, along Flagstaff Hill Walking Track, which was a bit further than we realised. Worth it for the views though.
Imagine if you felt like this but there was nowhere for you to go to the toilet. (Cue anxious sweating and abdominal cramps.) Horrible thought isn’t it? Did you know that 673 million people still have to defecate in the open? And three billion lack basic hand washing facilities? Shocking, and something we just don’t think about often enough.
Hence World Toilet Day on the 19th November is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.
According to a WHO/UNICEF joint monitoring program 4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation. Untreated human waste in the environment spreads diseases. WHO says “Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 432,000 diarrhoeal deaths every year and is a major factor in diseases such as intestinal worms, trachoma and schistosomiasis.” They also estimate 297,000 children under five die each year from diarrhoea because of unsafe drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene.
Then there are the issues of safety and dignity for women. Toileting outside in the dark can leave women and girls vulnerable to sexual assault. And many girls have to miss school when they menstruate because of lack of facilities.
For more statistics and information you can see this fact sheet. And for inspiring and heart-breaking stories about what a difference sanitation makes, check out World Toilet Day themes. There you’ll also find links to organisations that are aiming to provide toilets for all by 2030. Apart from donating to these organisations, there’s one more easy thing you can do right now to make a difference.
Buy your toilet paper from Australian company Who Gives A Crap. Order online and they deliver. It’s that simple. And 50% of profits go to building toilets and improving sanitation in developing countries. How good is that? Since they started in 2013 they have donated $700,000 for that purpose. Well done guys!!!
I love their irreverent marketing, like their name for a start! Their toilet paper rolls, made without trees, come wrapped in paper, not plastic, with cheeky sayings like ‘Do more ones and twos’, ‘Good for your bum – Great for the world’, and ‘Give yourself a pat on the bum’.
I bought my first carton recently and the packaging gives me a smile every time I visit the loo. The rolls seem to last for ages too. Sure, the 100% recycled paper without inks, dyes or scents looks like it might not be very soft, but I assure you it is, though I can’t verify it is as ‘soft as unicorn kisses and as strong as 1000 ponies’ as their website puts it. But if you have a very sensitive bum, try their 100% forest friendly bamboo paper, which is apparently like ‘wiping with clouds’. Told you they had a sense of humour, which is what you need for dealing with a global problem as undignified as having no place to poop safely or in private.
When you book your travel, go with companies that have a social conscience and give back to the places and people they visit, like World Expeditions, Intrepid, G Adventures and Abercrombie & Kent among others.
I’ll finish with a couple more funny dunny signs I saw in Seisia in Cape York. Mango trees are so prolific up there the locals get sick of eating mangoes. Can you believe that?!
So make World Toilet Day 2019 the day you make a difference and prove that you do give a crap about basic hygiene for everyone.
Disclaimer: I visited Cape York at my own expense and have no affiliation with Who Gives a Crap or the travel companies listed.